"Around the Deck" masthead

December, 2009

Seasons Greetings
Happy Holidays from the PVS Officials Committee!

The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s may be the busiest of the year. In the midst of all the holiday activity, a number of PVS meets (including several high-level invitational meets) are scheduled for December. Championship meets require championship officiating — can we count on your help?

Upcoming Meets

December 2009

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
3-6 Short Course Natl. Championships Federal Way, WA USA Swimming
3-6 Tom Dolan Invitational GMU Art Davis
4-6 Christmas Championships Fairland Lynne Gerlach
5-6 Reindeer Mini-Meet Providence Ben Holly
10-13 Short Course Junior Natl. Championships Columbus, OH USA Swimming
10-13 Sport Fair Winter Classic
GMU Brian Baker
11-13 Turkey Claus Showdown Takoma Scott Robinson

January 2010

Date Meet Location Officials Contact
2-3 PVS January Distance Meet Lee District Art Davis


Officials Qualifying Meet
The Tom Dolan Invitational Meet has been approved by USA Swimming as an Officials Qualifying Meet for N2 and N3 certification. The meet will include opportunities to be observed for N2 certification in all positions as well as Initial N3 Referee and Starter, and Initial and Final N3 Stroke and Turn and Chief Judge. N2 certification requires satisfactory evaluation over at least three sessions that include senior events; N3 requires satisfactory evaluation over at least three sessions that include senior events. To be evaluated at an Officials Qualifying Meet you must work at least 4 sessions as an official at the meet. Not all sessions worked need to be in evaluated positions. Certification at either level requires a combination of several things including evaluations, local participation at meets, continuing education, and the training and mentoring of other officials. More information about the meet is available in the meet announcement. More information about the National certification program for officials can be found on the USA Swimming website.


Welcome, New Officials
This season we’ve seen unprecedented numbers of people attending our clinics. We’d like to welcome these new officials who have recently completed the requirements for first-time PVS certification in the following positions.

Stroke & Turn Judge: Starter:
Anne Baumgartner Al Meilus (Transfer)
Jayne Biafore Dan Seliskar
Brigitte Burke  
Steve Eggert  
Al Holtslander (Transfer) CTS Operator:
Richard Johnson Lauri Garrett
Ken Moore (Transfer)  
Michael Schreiber  
Jamie Smith Referee:
Debi Stanback Leigh Broadhurst
Peter Wiecki  
Ted Wong  


Why N2 or N3?
Why would you want to attain National certification as an N2 or N3 official?

  • To have the satisfaction that you’re recognized as a highly motivated official who demonstrates superior performance standards on deck.
  • To receive practical constructive feedback regarding your performance from very experienced nationally-recognized officials.
  • To qualify to work at higher level meets. N2 certification recognizes that an official is experienced and has been evaluated as capable of working the position at Sectional, Zone, Grand Prix and similar higher profile meets. N3 certification recognizes that an official has the experience, skills and knowledge to be considered for selection to work at National Championship level meets in the position.
  • To be viewed as a mentor by your fellow officials.
  • To help insure that all swimmers, from novice to Olympian, will have the most professional, most consistent, and fairest officiating possible.

Requirements for progression to N2 and N3 levels in the positions of Stroke and Turn Judge, Chief Judge, Starter, Deck Referee, and Administrative Referee can be found on the USA Swimming website.


You Make the Call
During warm-ups, a coach informs the referee that his swimmer has a broken pinky finger. He asks if the swimmer may swim with the last three fingers of the hand taped. What should the referee do?
See the answer at the bottom of this newsletter.


Did You Know?
In 1911, at the Festival of Empire in London (the forerunner of the Commonwealth Games), Australia’s Harold Hardwick won the 100-yard Freestyle as well as the heavyweight boxing title.


Keeping Track of Sessions
Potomac Valley Swimming uses USA Swimming’s Officials Tracking System to maintain the records of sessions worked by officials at PVS meets. For each meet, the Meet Referee or the host club’s Officials Chair is responsible for recording the sessions worked for all officials at the meet. It is recommended that you verify your record in the OTS a week or two after the conclusion of the meet at which you work, to be sure that the information is correct. If there is a discrepancy, please contact the Meet Referee.

The complete User’s Guide for the Officials Tracking System can be found on the USA Swimming website. Information for Meet Referees regarding the simple procedures for recording officials’ participation at your meet can likewise be found on the USA Swimming website.


Guiding Principles for Officials
Take officiating seriously and work hard at it. Athletes have a right to expect officials to know the rules and to interpret them correctly, fairly and courteously. Study your USA Swimming rulebook regularly. Uniformly apply rules regardless of the level of athletes. Call violations as seen; don’t guess or anticipate. Be fair and consistent; always give the swimmer the benefit of any doubt. Exercise good judgment and remember that ugly isn’t necessarily illegal.


Feet First for Warmups
Did you ever wonder why we ask the swimmers to jump in instead of dive in during warmups? By jumping in feet first, your child is significantly reducing his/her chance of being injured. Although accidents are very rare in swimming, injuries do occur. The practice of jumping, rather than diving, is simply a safety precaution and a safety policy of USA Swimming. At your next meet, during warmups help to ensure that all swimmers enter the pool feet first. It’s all about safety.


Questions? Suggestions?
Do you have a question about officiating or a tip you’d like to share? Is there a rule that you’d like to have clarified? Do you have a suggestion for a future item in this newsletter? If so, please send your questions/comments to the newsletter editor, Jack Neill.


Did You Know?
Natalie Du Toit of South Africa lost her leg in a motorcycle accident in 2001. She competed at the 2008 Olympic games, finishing 16 of 25 in the women’s open water 10K race.


What Do the Whistles Mean?
Early this decade, USA Swimming went to the “whistle protocol” to start races, in an effort to coincide with FINA protocols. Exactly what do the whistles mean?

  • 4 or more short whistle chirps by the Referee signals the upcoming heat of swimmers that their start is coming up.
  • 1 long whistle blast by the Referee signals the swimmers to step on the blocks or into the water (as appropriate).
  • For backstroke starts, an additional long whistle blast signals the swimmers to return to the wall without undue delay.
  • The timing of the whistles is by judgment of the Referee, and is determined by the level of swimmers, the time line, and whether or not dive-over starts are being used.


Resolution to ‘You Make the Call’
If the referee determines that taping the fingers is to prevent further injury to the swimmer — and not to enhance his speed
— the referee has the authority to grant the request.